The ACLU of Georgia will be watching closely to make sure the government's response to the COVID- 19 pandemic is scientifically justified and no more intrusive on civil liberties than absolutely necessary.
Timeline of Georgia Government Actions Regarding COVID.
At the ACLU of Georgia, you can trust that we will be watching State and Government officials to ensure their actions to combat this pandemic are grounded in science, done in a transparent manner, and do not overly infringe on the civil liberties of Georgians.
Timeline of Government Actions
- The Governor created his Coronavirus Task Force via Executive Order No. 02.28.20.01
The Governor declared a public health state of emergency in response to the Novel Coronavirus via Executive Order No. 03.14.20.01.
- Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 38-3-51, grants the Governor the ability to declare certain types of state-level emergencies and it grants him emergency powers to address state of emergency.
The Governor authorized the Georgia Department of Defense to provide up to 2,000 National Guard troops to be called for State Active Duty via Executive Order No. 03.14.20.02.
The Georgia State House and the Georgia State Senate held a Special Legislative Session to ratify the Governor’s public health state of emergency declaration and the emergency powers that come with the declaration.
- Both chambers adopted House Resolution (HR) 4EX concurring with the governor’s executive order, which concluded the Special Session.
The Governor closed all public K-12 and post-secondary schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure was initially set to last from March 18, 2020 to March 31, 2020. This action was taken via Executive Order No. 03.16.20.01.
The Governor transferred $19,552,646 from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to assist the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency in their efforts to combat COVID-19. This action was taken via Executive Order No. 03.20.20.01.
The Governor issued his first shelter in place order during the COVID-19 pandemic. This shelter in place order was issued via Executive Order No. 03.23.20.01, applied to vulnerable populations, and was set to last from March 24, 2020 to April 6, 2020.
The Governor extended the closure of public schools through April 24, 2020 via Executive Order No. 03.26.20.02.
The Governor issued Executive Order No. 03.30.20.01 to transfer $35 million from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.
The Governor issued Executive Order No. 04.01.20.01 to close public schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
The Governor issued a state-wide shelter in place order to last from April 3rd through April 13th. This action was taken via Executive Order no. 04.02.20.01.
- This shelter in place order overruled shelter in place orders issued by individual county and city governments.
The Governor issued Executive Order No 04.03.20.01 to provide county sheriff’s the ability to enforce the April 2nd shelter in place order.
- The Governor signed Executive Order No. 04.08.20.02 to extend the public health state of emergency until April 30, 2020.
- The Governor authorized the Georgia Department of Defense to call up to 1,000 National Guard troops to State Active Duty. This action was taken via Executive Order No. 04.08.20.05.
The Governor signed Executive Order No. 04.13.20.02 to suspend Georgia’s anti-masking statute.
- Under Georgia law, specifically O.C.G.A § 16-11-38, it is a misdemeanor offense to wear a “mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer.” This particular state law was first codified in response to the prevalence of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia.
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance called for the use of masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the anti-masking statute created concern amongst government officials, law enforcement, scientists and public health experts, and residents of Georgia.
The Governor issued Executive Order No. 04.23.20.02 to allow for certain businesses to re-open, including dine in restaurants, gyms, nail salons, and tattoo parlors.
- The Governor extended the public health state of emergency until June 12, 2020. This action was taken via Executive Order No. 04.30.20.01.
- The Georgia State Legislature announced that they would resume in-person committee meetings on May 19th.
The Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives announced June 11th as the tentative date to resume the 2020 legislative session.
- The Chairs of the House and Senate budget committees and the Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget asked for all state agencies to cut their 2021 budgets by 14 percent.